Danny Tarkanian

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Danny Tarkanian
Personal details
Born (1961-12-18) December 18, 1961 (age 53)
Redlands, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Amy Hanson Tarkanian
Children Lois, Ashley, Ava and Jerry
Alma mater University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of San Diego
Religion Armenian Apostolic
Website Official site

Daniel John "Danny" Tarkanian (born December 18, 1961) is an American real estate and small business owner and Republican Party politician. In 2004, Tarkanian was the Republican nominee for Nevada Senate and lost in the general election. In 2006, he was the Republican nominee for Nevada Secretary of State and lost in the general election. In 2010 he was a candidate in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, finishing third behind Sharron Angle and Sue Lowden. In 2012 he was the Republican nominee for Nevada's 4th congressional district and lost in the general election.

Early life, education, and law career[edit]

Tarkanian was born in Redlands, California, the third of four children. He is the son of Jerry Tarkanian, a former prominent UNLV basketball coach, and Lois Tarkanian (née Huter),[1] a Las Vegas City Councilwoman, educator of children with disabilities, administrator, and a co-founder for California's first private school for the deaf.

When Tarkanian was teenager, he moved into three different California cities (Riverside, Pasadena, Huntington Beach) because his father advanced in his professional career.

The Tarkanian family moved to Nevada in 1973 while Danny was 12. He attended Hyde Park Junior High School (Las Vegas, Nevada) and later the Bishop Gorman High School. He achieved honors in all four years. After graduating from high school, he spent one year at Dixie College, before becoming a student-athlete at UNLV where he was coached by his own father.[2]

At Bishop Gorman High School, he played both basketball and football, and both sports teams went into the playoffs and won state championships. In basketball, he played point guard. In football, he played QB and was named All-Conference and All-State at his position twice. He was also named the Nevada’s Most Valuable Player.

He played basketball one season at Dixie State, where his team to the regional playoffs. He was named the school’s Male Freshman of the Year.

Danny played 3 seasons, 1981–1984, for the UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball.[3] He was the starting point guard and captain. In his sophomore year, his team won 24 straight games and was ranked Number One nationally.

He was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1984 NBA Draft in Round 8.[4]

At UNLV, Danny was twice named First-Team Academic All-American by the CoSIDA[citation needed]. He was the school’s first Rhodes Scholar candidate[citation needed] and received the NCAA post-graduate award[citation needed].

Following graduation, Danny attended University of San Diego School of Law, where he finished third in his class[citation needed].

Danny passed the Nevada Bar Exam and practiced law for eight years, four as proprietor of his own firm.

In 1995, Jerry Tarkanian became the head coach for the Fresno State Bulldogs basketball team at Fresno State, where Danny joined his father as an assistant coach. The team qualified for the post-season every year during Tarkanian's tenure.

Danny moved back to Las Vegas following his father’s retirement in 2002. He started a real estate investment business and he co-founded the Tarkanian Basketball Academy.

Political career[edit]

2004 Nevada Senate election[edit]


On May 4, 2004 Tarkanian filed to run in Nevada's 11th District (map) against incumbent Michael A. Schneider.[5]


2004 Nevada Senate election in Clark County District 11[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Michael A. Schneider 13,649 54%
Republican Danny Tarkanian 11,746 46%
Democratic hold Swing


Following the election, Tarkanian successfully sued his Democratic opponent for defamation. During the campaign, Schneider accused Tarkanian of setting up telemarketing companies that ran scams victimizing senior citizens and that he turned "state's evidence" against the telemarketers to avoid being prosecuted. Tarkanian practiced civil law until 1995 and stated that he helped set up the companies, but had no involvement in the day-to-day operations of any of them was not aware that any of the companies were already engaged in illegal activity at the time that he helped to set them up. The case went to trial on July 27, 2009. Schneider stood by statements he made in a 2004 debate with Tarkanian and in campaign ads and fliers accusing Tarkanian. Former assistant U.S. Attorney Leif Reid, son of Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid, testified that Tarkanian was not part of the investigation into the companies. On July 31, a Clark County District Court jury ruled in Tarkanian's favor and awarded him $50,000 in damages. On August 3, Schneider agreed to pay a $150,000 settlement in the case.[7][8]

2006 Secretary of State election[edit]


In December 2005, Tarkanian announced his second bid for public office, this time a statewide election for Nevada Secretary of State.[9] He defeated Brian Scroggins in the Republican primary and faced Democratic nominee Ross Miller, the son of former Nevada governor Bob Miller in the general election.


2006 Nevada Secretary of State election[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ross Miller 279,510 48.7%
Republican Danny Tarkanian 232,705 40.6%
Independent American Janine Hansen 38,757 6.8%
None of These Candidates 22,666 4.0%
Democratic hold Swing

2010 U.S. Senate election[edit]


In 2009, Tarkanian announced that he would run against Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who is currently the Senate Majority Leader. Before other candidates entered the primary, Tarkanian was the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Former Nevada Republican Chairwoman Sue Lowden and Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle entered the primary field shortly after Tarkanian's announcement and quickly overtook him in the polls. However, polls comparing the hypothetical matches of the leading Republicans versus Reid indicated a slight edge for Tarkanian: In the average of three polls taken from May 28 to June 3, Tarkanian polled 2% higher than Lowden and 3% higher than Angle against Reid. Those polls indicated Tarkanian had a lead of about 1% over Reid.[citation needed] Angle won the nomination with Tarkanian finishing third in the field. Angle ultimately lost the general election to Reid.


Republican Primary results [11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sharron Angle 70,422 40.1
Republican Sue Lowden 45,871 26.1
Republican Danny Tarkanian 40,926 23.3
Republican John Chachas 6,925 3.9
Republican Chad Christensen 4,803 2.7
Republican None of these 3,090 1.8
Republican Bill Parson 1,483 0.8
Republican Gary Bernstein 698 0.4
Republican Garn Mabey 462 0.2
Republican Cecilia Stern 355 0.2
Republican Brian Nadell 235 0.1
Republican Terry Suominen 223 0.1
Republican Gary Marinch 178 0.1
Total votes 175,691 100

2012 congressional election[edit]


In January 2012, he announced he will run in the newly created Nevada's 4th congressional district.[12] The district includes most of northern Clark County, as well as all or part of the rural counties of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye and White Pine.[13] Obama is projected to have earned 56% of the vote here in 2008. U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid defeated Republican Assemblywoman Sharron Angle by a 7-point margin, 51%-44%, while Reid defeated her statewide by a five-point margin. Racially, the white population is 62% and the African American population is 16% (which is higher than the other three districts). Hispanics are 27% of the district. As far as party registration, 46% are registered Democrats, higher than the statewide average of 43%. Registered Republicans are 33% of the district, while they make up 35% statewide.[14]

In June 2012, a federal court issued a $17 million judgment against Tarkanian and his family in a California real estate deal gone bad. He issued a statement saying he would appeal.[15] In June 2012, Tarkanian won the Republican primary with 32% of the vote, defeating eight other candidates. The most notable of these was State Senator Barbara Cegavske, who won the endorsements of the party establishment.[16] Tarkanian faced Democratic state senate majority leaser Steven Horsford in the general election. He lost to Horsford 50%-42%. Although Tarkanian won the rural counties in the district by margins of better than 2-to-1, it was not enough to overcome a 28,800-vote deficit in the district's share of Clark County, home to four-fifths of the district's vote.


Primary results
Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Danny Tarkanian 7,605 31.5
Republican Barbara Cegavske 6,674 27.7
Republican Kenneth Wegner 5,069 21.0
Republican Dan Schwartz 2,728 11.3
Republican Kiran Hill 666 2.8
Republican Diana Anderson 607 2.5
Republican Mike Delarosa 370 1.5
Republican Sid Zeller 252 1.0
Republican Robert X. Leeds 165 0.7
Total votes 24,136 100
General Election
Nevada 4th Congressional District 2012 [17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Steven A. Horsford 120,501 50.11
Republican Danny Tarkanian 101,261 42.11
Independent American Floyd Fitzgibbons 9,389 3.90
Libertarian Joseph P. Silvestri 9,341 3.88
Total votes 240,492 100.0

Personal life[edit]

In October 2001, Danny married Amy Hanson. The couple currently lives in Las Vegas and they have three daughters and one son: Lois, Ashley, Ava, and Jerry Jr. In 2011, Amy Tarkanian was elected chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party, served about eight months, and resigned in February 2012 during her husband's primary campaign.[18]


  1. ^ "Danny Tarkanian - Conservative Columnist and Political Commentator". Townhall.com. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "UNLV Official Athletic Site - Men's Basketball". Unlvrebels.cstv.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  4. ^ InsideHoops.com (2005-06-09). "1984 NBA Draft". InsideHoops.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  5. ^ Kirsten Searer. "Assemblyman from Henderson says he won't run this year - Wednesday, May 5, 2004 | 11:29 a.m.". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Las Vegas Review-Journal archive search - 2004 election results". Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  7. ^ David Kihara. "Schneider, Tarkanian both on hand as libel trial begins". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  8. ^ Jeff Pope. "Schneider to pay Tarkanian $150,000 to settle lawsuit". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  9. ^ "UNLV Ex-Coach's Son Seeking State Office". The America's Intelligence Wire. December 2, 2005. 
  10. ^ "2006 Secretary of State General Election Results - Nevada". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  11. ^ "Nevada Senate Primary Results". NV Secretary of State. June 8, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Danny Tarkanian to join race for new district seat - News - ReviewJournal.com". Lvrj.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  13. ^ Waldron, Molly (2012-06-12). "Tarkanian to face Horsford in CD4 House race". www.ktnv.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  14. ^ 2011 Districts State of Nevada Population Reports
  15. ^ "$17 million judgment ordered against candidate Danny Tarkanian - News - ReviewJournal.com". Lvrj.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  16. ^ "Tarkanian wins nail-biter in 4th District race - News - ReviewJournal.com". Lvrj.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  17. ^ "Nevada General Election 2012 - U.S. Congress". Nevada Secretary of State. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Hostetler, Krista (April 22, 2012). "New Nevada GOP chairman elected". Retrieved October 1, 2012. 

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